Saturday, April 26, 2008

Supergirl #28 Review


Writer: Kelley Puckett

Artist: Drew Johnson

DC Comics

'Way of the World' part 1.

Finally a Supergirl story I can cheer for! Puckett wisely ditches the conventional super-fight routines and goes for a story that touches at the very heart of Supergirl: a 16-year old idealistic teenage superhero. Supergirl has just promised a dying 5-year old kid that she will cure cancer for him, and no matter what Superman or Wonder Woman or any grown up have to say about the matter she won't keep trying.

Her first plan of action involves the return of a long-forgotten DC hero (and Nexus fave), the Resurrection Man; don't worry if you don't know him, Puckett has included a very blatantly Wiki info-dump on the guy in-between narrations; I can think of more tasteful ways to sneak that info in, but that's only a minor quibble. Supergirl's grand plan is this:

...and I love every bit of it. It screams of teen naivete and finally injects some much-needed personality into the girl. We certainly had to wait long enough for it. Everything in the issue, from the resolution of the above plan, to Superman's involvement, Wonder Woman's heart to heart with the girl, and the return of the Purple healing Ray, just clicks perfectly. On top of all that, the story's complimented by a decent fit artist who has a modest design of Kara, shying away from Paris Hilton or jail bait extremes. Could this be the miracle cure for the book every fan has been hoping for?

(Shame about that cover though)


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Infinity Inc #8 Review


Writer: Pete Milligan

Artist: Pete Woods

DC Comics

The Bogeyman part 1.

DC is making amends for condemning the launch of Infinity Inc with the choice of untested rookie Max Fiumara on art, paired with an even more incompatible colorist. DCU readers might be open to a Vertigo-esque (ugh, I already hate that term as I type it) take on their superheroes, but it needs to come in an attractive package for it to work. Think X-Force/X-Statix. Think All-Star Superman.

This is take two. Take the disoriented kids from 52's Everyman project, slap shiny garish spandex (well, probably more 90s generic than anything else) and silly codenames on them and attach a semi-established artist in Pete Woods, and you're to go with round 2! I hope readers are still willing to give it a go. This is Milligan going back to his X-Force roots: corny code names, extreme personalities based on disturbed psychological profiles, off-beat powers, and a non-team concept on a team book. It started off awkwardly (partly due to the art, and also Milligan taking too much of a slow pace), but things are starting to click.

Jerome / Double Trouble (the narcissistic fratboy who can conjure more of him to hang out with) and Erik / Amazing Woman (the stuttering coward boy who can turn into a super-endowed power woman) are easy favourites, with Lucia / Empathy (the desperate-to-please self-cutter who cuts both ways) warming up to me slowly; it's odd that Woods hasn't managed to differentiate her from the other girls on the team, leading to a forced hair colour change to tell the three apart. Natasha/Vaporlock (ditch that name please! The self-appointed group leader who fades/vaporises into the background) and Steel (Steel-plated black Superman) are still tedious and boring to read, while the newest addition of Mercy/Vanilla (Lex Luthor's former bodyguard, maybe an amazon) makes me scratch my head in confusion. I hope she realises her hidden potential as the Emma Frost Queen B**ch of the group soon!


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Friday, April 25, 2008

LYSAD wishes you a Happy Greek Easter!

Red Egg Madness!

(FACT: yes, we Greeks occasionally celebrate Easter a few weeks apart from the other Christians)
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Nunchuck Nuns

NRAMA: Last time I interviewed you about Ghost Rider, you gave us a good tease about the nurses with guns. Anything you can tease about what's coming up in future issues?

Jason Aaron: How about nuns with nunchucks? Nunchuck nuns. We'll see that at some point.

Jason Aaron talking to Newsarama during NYCC
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Herculean Homages

Is it a swipe if you're homaging yourself, in a way -and character- someone has already homaged you earlier that year?

Meet mr Jim Steranko. He is an unquestionable talented creator and a comics, famous for his bold compositions, his striking covers and creating a standard that artists have adhered to and often homaged for decades even to this day!

Exhibit A:

King Size Hulk Special #1/v.1 Annual #1 (October 1968, Marvel Comics)

Cover artist: Jim Steranko
. The original cover that set the trend. Hulk dominating the cover from edge to edge, straining to hold the weight of his own name/logo like a monstrous Atlas. The massive feat is accentuated by the cracking of the ground/letters that Hulk is standing on. The title is made of solid rock, crumbling away as Hulk with his enormous strength clasps at it with his arms. A very claustrophobic cover that has stood the test of time, very evident by the amount of homages to it even in the last decade:

Exhibit B:

The Incredible Hulk v.2 #34 (November 2001, Marvel Comics)

Cover Artist: Kaare Andrews. Kicking off the then celebrated run by writer Bruce Jones, Kaare makes a tribute to the Steranko original, keeping the same composition but using a painted/computer illustrated technique.

Exhibit C:

Incredible Hulk Herc(ules) #113 (February 2008, Marvel Comics)

Cover Artist: Arthur Adams. With the closing of World War Hulk, Bruce Banner is in custody, there's a new monthly (adjectiveless) Hulk title launching, and the Incredible Hulk title is passed over to classic Marvel hero Hercules. To commemorate the first issue of the name switch, Arthur Adams cleverly homages Hercules (a Greek demi-god like Atlas himself) bulking under the weight of the Hulk's title which he has now inherited, with his own name sprayed on top of it.

Exhibit D:

Hercules #2 (announced June 2008, Radical Comics)

Cover Artist: Jim Steranko. Coming full circle, Steranko returns to comics and cover artwork with the new ongoing Hercules series from Radical Comics, following the adventures of Hercules - now a warlord leader of a mercenary team- in Ancient Greece after the completion of the Twelve Tasks. Steranko replaces the hulk of his classic cover with the new Radical Hercules.

Any more homages to the original that I've missed? Reply below :)

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Marvel Capsule Reviews Week 13 2008

Oh, really behind now! After this we'll be jumping ahead a few weeks to current shipping!

Let's move on to the reviews:


(Fred Van Lente / Scott Koblish)

The fools!

Iron-Man flies to Canada this issue, featuring the fan-favourite original Alpha Flight. I wish someone would have indicated that on the cover somehow, instead of yet another poseur-istic Iron-Man shot. Anyhoo. This follows the traditional team-up recipe. Iron-Man meets Alpha Flight, there's a misunderstanding leading to a big fight scene, everything is cleared and they team-up against a common threat. It's a hoot seeing my childhood favourite team again ,even if Van Lente overplays their quarrellings for comic relief and doesn't convince me on the voices of Snowbird or even Iron-Man himself.



(Brian Bendis/ Mark Bagley & Marko Djurdjevic)

Another Mighty Avengers story arc wraps up in typical Mighty Avengers fashion. The Avengers prove absolutely worthless against the villain, they get captured, the quip incessantly, then something random happens to release them, and the Sentry shows up to defeat the villain. Rinse and Repeat.

The sight of the Avengers in stasis reminded me of the even more dull JLA issue last week, where again the heroes are captured in energy stasis and released by a fluke energy disruption. Quick plot solutions are the new hot thing, eh?

As far as Doom storylines go, this one ranks below the time Doom fought against Squirrel Girl and was overtaken by an army of rodents. At least he didn't take up the whole page with thought balloons replacing the usual maniacal monologues. Someone forward Bendis the memo: noone's still impressed with his radical reinvention of the thought bubble. Give it a rest, dude.

One admirable quality in this issue: Doom in fact time-traveling back and forth from Morgana's Camelot to score a demon army in return for sexual favors! Thanks to my friend Ilias Kyriazis (Vote for him now at Zuda!) for pointing it out.



(Brian Bendis / David Mack)

That Echo girl sure gets around. Daredevil, Wolverine, Hawkeye... Hey, isn't Spidey single again as well? ;) Echo dukes it out with a Super-Skrull out to replace her on the team. Cue in big fight scene, a barbequed X-Men, lots of flirting, and at least one sex scene! Why am I still bored silly? I actually enjoyed Mighty Avengers more this month. Like Echo says near the end of the issue 'This isn't the Avengers'. Despite Hawkeye/Ronin's claims otherwise I'm still unconvinced as this book reads and feels like the aborted 'Marvel Knights' team-up book, a collection of Marvel's edgy and street-smart heroes.



No, wait, forget it. I can't even stand to read the scans of this book anymore.



(Fred Van Lente / Gurihiru)

Cute kids' book. Not enough funny/witty to attract older readers, so it has to simply rely on the cuteness factor of Gurihiru's art. The Fantastic Four drop off their son Franklin for the Power family to babysit (although the mr and mrs Power don't know their kids are super-heroes, so there's a big leap of logic here to believe the parents aren't curious why the FF would choose an average family to take care of their son). Anyhoo. Franklin asks the kids how they got their powers and te flashback sequence kicks in, showing the younger normal Power brothers and sisters stumbling upon an alien 'parent-napping' (love that term mr Van Lente), and interfering in the battle between the alien Snark kidnappers (who I would take more seriously if not for the ridiculously goofy design from the 80s) and the heroic pony-man warrior.



(Brian Bendis / Stuart Immonnen)

Ok, why can't Bendis write like this on all his titles?

Liz Thompson has learned she's a mutant, (although not named as such here) Ultimate Firestar. Fittingly Iceman also drops in to reunite the best Saturday morning cartoon team-up of all ages. Magneto drops in on the Amazing Friends with a proposition for Firestar to join her estranged father in his Brotherhood, as do the X-Men.

Despite the huge array of guest-stars, this is the most intimate story Bendis has done on the title, and by far my favourite. Here he's examining the strong bonds of friendship that have formed between the kids of Midtown High, taking into account all the weirdness that's swamped their lives since issue 1, and exploring the very strange reality a normal girl faces when she discovers she's special -viewing the mutant struggle through an original lens.

It's weird how neither Bendis nor Immonnen were this good at doing a mutant book when they were ctually working on Ultimate X-Men.The reveal of her father's identity is a huge shocker moment in the final page, and something that Bendis has teased about and laid out clues for since the very second year of Ultimate universe's existence ( I remember oft clues about her mutant Uncle Frank and her loathing of muties from the very early issues of this title and Ultimate Marvel Team-Up). Kudos.



(Paul Tobin / David Hahn)

Cosby and Paniccia don't just treat their editorial corner of the Marvel U as the 'kids comics line'. Instead of restraining themselves by the content rating, hey revel in their freedom to create the funnest comics around without concerns on continuity or interference from higher-ups.
This issue: the Fantastic Four are attending a country fair for charity. Reed gets too much into fixing doohickeys to notice the Mad Thinker among the audience and inadvertently fixes his Awesome Android to an even awesom-er setting (the rest of the team being too busy to notice, what with fighting fake apes, paint-on fake Hulks, or manning a kissing booth- I'm looking at you Johnny Storm!). Thankfully Reed still has brains enough to outsmart even his own accomplishments with a tricked-up pair of... toasters? You gotta read it to believe it.

Nice little niche story, made more special with David Hahn's art style. (Add him on the long list of 'artists to look out for' from this week. He's the next Takeshi Miyazawa).



(Brian Reed / Adriana Melo & Ron Frenz)

Ever since cross-dressing Machine Man has been taken off the spotlight of the book, I simply can't get behind it anymore. Steeped deep in Secret Invasion nonsense, Ms Marvel faces off against the X-Men-powered Super-Skrull, while Iron-Man discovers there's more than one Ms Marvels running around, and we get a healthy dose of flashback to still-human Carol Danvers teaming up with Captain Marvel against some more Skrulls (only worth reading for Ron Frenz's retro art). Plus a 'shocking' ending where Ms Marvel's boyfriend (whom I don't remember seeing since I started reading the title) tips the scales on the 'Girls in Refrigerators' gender war scales. I really want to care for this book, but I still can't find my footing. Adriana Melo's debut as regular penciller could certainly help tip the scales.



(Jeff Parker / Craig Rousseau)

Cyclops gets a solo mission while the other young X-Men recover from water poisoning (huh). It's a paint-by-numbers plot as Cyke travels to a small suburban town tracking down a newly-manifested mutant teen, who has kidnapped the townspeople who teased and mocked him. Cyclops isn't the easiest cookie to write a solo story on, unless you're Whedon of course. Heck, even Vaughan failed to make him interesting in his limited series a while ago. Pretty average predictable yarn with one brief shining (heh) moment with Cyclops standing up to the small-town bigots.



(Fred Van Lente / Andrea Di Vito)

A third monthly Wolvie title! This time, it's Claremont/Byrne era Wolvie, hot on the heels of the Dark Phoenix Saga. Kitty has just joined the team; Prof X sends her as a tag-along with Wolvie to investigate a newly-manifested mutant teen in a small suburban town. Oh, sweet deja vu! This is much better handled than X-Men First Class above, with some neat twists and great fun back-and-forth between Wolvie and Kitty- his first and best sidekick. Unlike X-FC, this title also appears to adhere more closely to continuity, featuring the accurate X-Men roster of the time. A solid old-school debut title, with a misguiding title.


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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

March '08 H-O-T Grade

  1. CRIMINAL v.2 #1 (ICON)

  2. GHOST RIDER #21 (Marvel)


  4. CASANOVA #12 (Image)

  5. WOLVERINE #63 (Marvel)

  6. ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #120 (Marvel)

  7. CROSSING MIDNIGHT #17 (Vertigo)

  8. LOCKE & KEY #2 (IDW)



  11. PROGRAMME #9 (Wildstorm)
  12. X-MEN LEGACY #209 (Marvel)
  13. FABLES #71 (Vertigo)
  15. YOUNG LIARS #1 (Vertigo)
  16. DARK IVORY #1 (Image)
  17. COMIC BOOK COMICS #1 (Evil Twin)
  18. WOLVERINE ORIGINS #23 (Marvel)
  19. BOYS #16 (IDW)
  20. THOR #7 (Marvel)
Very late posting these, but just done catching up. Going from the standard top 10 into top 20 mode from now on, as I just feel too bad leaving quality stuff out of the Grade!

There were no clear-cut favorites this month, and the top 7 could really go in any order. Criminal 2 #1 gets the honors because I was late in discovering the gem it is, and the new volume deserves mad props!

Rundown: 7 Marvel titles, 3 Image, 2 IDW and 2 DC, although the latter share grows if we include all imprints to an equal 7.
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NEWS: First Gay Man to Climb Mount Everest

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Fantastic Toasters Deal

A public endorsement from Mr Fantastic:

Where did you think they get all that money for building flying bathtubs and space rockets from?

Source: Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #34 (Marvel Comics)
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mary Jane Made Spidey Gay

Spidey and Rhino, sitting on a tree k-i-s-s-i---oops, it broke.

Source: Ultimate Spider-man #120 (Marvel Comics)

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Dr D & the Women

Nietzsche would have a field day.

Source: Mighty Avengers #11 (Marvel Comics)
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If You Believed They Put a Hulk on the Moon

Mean Power Brats.

Source: Power Pack Day 1 #1 (Marvel Comics)
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Review: X-Men Legacy #209


(Mike Carey / Scott Eaten & Billy Tan)

Messiah Complex is over, and Exodus has stolen Xavier's lifeless body to resuscitate, with the help of... Magneto?

It's a great set-up, although I'm still foggy on Exodus' motives. While Magneto (now a 'flatscan' human since the M-Day event) toils to restore Xavier to life, the X-Men's founder is flashing back through the key moments of the struggle between the two old frienemies. Though I can't be bothered to double-check, I'm pretty sure Carey has gone back and taken actual pieces from dialogue from older issues and made the patchwork that is this issue, flowing seamlessly from one scene to the next mid-dialogue, and providing a fitting epilogue to the past 45 years of continuity. The Magneto-Xavier philosophical feud is over as everyone keeps pointing out, or rather it's been dead a long time but everyone was too busy to notice. Colour me curious about Cyclops/Alonso's plans for the future of the titles now!

The slugfest quota of the issue (you didn't expect the book to be all talky talky heads, did you?) is filled by a very pissed-off Cargill storming through the Acolytes' guests. I'm hardly surprised she would lash out like that, as she's long been established as the most hardcore believer of Magneto's teachings in the Acolytes. Now Exodus has brought inside their safe human-hating mutant heaven: Xavier (their mutant philosophical opposite), a Sentinel (machine created by humans to hunt and kill mutants) and a de-powered Magneto (their former messiah, described by them as the equivalent of 'Jesus reborn and declaring himself a satanist'). Wouldn't you snap if you were in her place? Nicely played mr Carey!

X-Men Legacy was touted as a Professor-X solo title, but the editors seem to have wisely weaseled out of actually naming it or marketing it so, instead keeping the original numbering, tweaking the name and featuring as many characters as possible on the covers (loving the interconnecting covers, btw. Well done). After all, making more drastic name changes would only lead to a radical sales drop from what was previously considered the core title, while the quality of the writing and art has remained at the same high level.


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DC Capsule Reviews Week 13 2008

Still running through weeks of missed comics. The next two weeks of reviews will be done more briefly to fully catch up.


(Grant Morrison / Frank Quitely)

Do I even need to waste a paragraph to state the obvious? Perfection. Superman, feeling his death approaching, writes his last will and testament, putting his affairs in order. Enjoy the bottled city of Kandor, the giant Mechano, damsel-in-distress Lois, nano-sized super-doctors, artificial universes, time-travellers, the true identity of our Creator, all seen through the twisted brilliant prism-mind of Grant Morrisson. It's big ideas by the panel for a series that's sure to be studied for years to come. Enjoy it while you still can.



(Christos Gage / Darrick Robertson)

Last issue. The Authority and remaining Stormwatch (award for most pointless return...ever) face off against Bendix (award for blandest recurring villain... ever), now yielding the collected powers of both teams. Someone in Wildstorm must have figured it's a great idea to pit their avant-garde super-team against their take on Mimic/ Super-Adaptoid/ Super-Skrull/ Amazo, yet also mix it with the pre-Authority (read: forgettable) super-hero team and main villain. Is there really an audience out there that's nostalgic of the pre-Ellis Stormwatch?

A solid super-hero battle, but not up to Authority standards (blame Ellis and Millar for setting the threat bar higher than conventional Marvel/DC slugfests). Hawksmoor gets a moment to shine, and Rose Tattoo remains a mystery (mainly concerning why she's part of the team when no writer really has anything interesting to do with her or her powers). Darrick Robertson would have been a great match for the book if he wasn't too busy doing 2 books a month to bother.

Overall disappointingly average for what I've come to expect from both creators in the past years.



(John Rogers / Rafael Albuquerque)

Blue Beetle: hostage! The Scarab: surprisingly talkative -and sarcastic. Guy Gardner: flirts with Ice! Oracle, Fire, Booster Gold: guest-appearing! Plus, stuff blows up, there's some smooching, funny lines and the Justice League International team reunites for a barbeque party! Being a very new reader to Blue Beetle I've really enjoyed the creative team's efforts here, even though I'm still extremely foggy on the identities/purposes of 100% of the supporting cast.



(Mike Carey / Jim Fern)

'The Sword in the Soul' part one.

If you haven't read the story so far there's little point starting now. Still, for the faithful readers, CM is gearing for the final stretch, as the protagonists start taking their places before the upcoming confrontation between the warring divine factions. Carey keeps introducing exciting new mythological elements to his story, but he may be asking too much from his artist here. Even though Jose Villarubia's digital inks have improved since the last storyline to properly compliment the linework, Fern seems to have trouble with certain demands of the script, like designing a scene where a flock of needles assemble themselves into an armour. What under different circumstances would have been a jaw-dropping visual is simply squandered here. And similarly, what was comfortably on each way to becoming Vertigo's greatest ongoing series is canceled prematurely due to bad marketing and insufficient in-house support. Boo.



(Paul Dini & Adam Beechen / Jim Starlin)

Wonders will never cease! A few weeks before its final croak, Countdown delivers a beautiful swan song: a self-contained story told from everyman Buddy Blank's perspective as he seeks out his family in the middle of a world gone crazy where a mutated virus attacks every living person mutating the people into animals and the animals into humanoid monsters. It's a fairly inconsequential way to end one of the longest-running story arcs in the book: the heroes have finally united on a world trying to save the infected Karate Kid; instead they end up infecting the entire planet; and as everything starts going nuclear they do the heroic thing (sic) and bail out for greener pastures. Nevertheless, this is a very enjoyable story if read out of the context of the mess that is Countdown. Jim Starlin is a legend unto himself, and although his figure-work hasn't aged well (retaining only a smidge of the crazy energetic dynamic) it's still a kick to follow his storytelling.



(Geoff Johns / Ivan Reis)

I've never really gotten into Hal Jordan or any Green Lantern book before. Sure I enjoyed the introductory chapter to Sinestro Corps War, but felt too intimidated by the sheer mass of the cast involved in the story to keep reading more than a few issues here and there (mostly the specials). For me the only acceptable GL will always be Guy Gardner and G'Nort. (ducks). Still, Johns is a sure-fire good writer, and I've been getting brainwashed by the Nexus peeps for months to give this a good try.

This issue starts an utterly new-reader-friendly storyline, going back to Hal Jordan's origins long before he found the Green Ring. Call it 'Year -1' if you must. We are introduced to Hal Jordan at a young impressionable age, a great fanboy for airplanes and his father the pilot, we meet his family and follow his life through consecutive tragedies, successes and bad decisions. It's riveting stuff, and the first time (apart from DC New Frontier) that I find myself interested in the character. How can you not love this airplane geekboy, who camps out of the airforce recruitment offices the night before his 18th birthday to sign up as soon as he's legal age?

When I last checked on Ivan Reis he was an average fill-in artist on DC's rotation (was it 52?). I was surprised to see his name pop up with such high frequency in our Nexus Awards ballot a few months back, but didn't bother checking out the mystery. Now, I discover that while I wasn't looking Ivan Reis has grown into a super-star artist. Still keeping a not-so-distinctive character design style, yet slowly turning into Bryan Hitch (while at the same time Bryan Hitch is turning into John Byrne in the pages of FF), he was evolved into a great storyteller. The double-page spread opener of young Hal Jordan gawking at airplanes overhead left me as slack-jawed as the young protagonist. Bravo.


Bonus Kid Hal Jordan wallpaper for your desktop:


(Jim Shooter / Francis Manapul)

'Enemy Rising' part 1

This is my first exposure to Jim Shooter's writing for the Legion of Super-heroes, so I'm not predisposed from what I hear was a defining run; I do come in as a huge fan of Mark Waid's handling of the franchise (which I again hear wasn't a big fave amongst the die-hard fans).

What a bore. Let's get down to the math:

5 pages of Shadow Lass and Brainy fighting some bland-looking green alien monsters (I'm struggling to retain the barest details of the fight in my head as I type this, it's screaming to be forgotten).
2 pages of various Legionnaires walking in a room in groups.
4 more pages of them bickering at their telepath for controlling their berserker teammate's violent urges so he wouldn't slash her. Like, duh!
and the rest of the issue spent with the legionnaires split up either chatting about bureacracy (again, info seeping out of my short-memory as I type), hunting down some sort of comet fragments (again, no idea), or fussing over Princess Projectra dropping the 'Princess', and Lightning Lad's ability to lead.
Scattered in-between, more puking jokes (at least 5 female Legionnaires hurl on panel or make references to the act) and bodily function references than I could stomach.

Overall impression? Like I said: 'zzzz'. It's ably written, but I couldn't care for anything happening inside, and it was all too wordy for its own good, most pages collapsing under the sheer weight of the word balloons. Shooter still writes like it's the 70s, but the rest of the world has moved on, and judging from fans' reactions in recent DC panels, so has his fanbase.



(Dan Jurgens & Ron Marz / Matthew Clark & Fernando Pasarin)

Another DC concept I'm vaguely familiar with. Again, I hear only good comments on the Tangent line, but I never had the chance to read any of them, since I was hardcore Marvel Zombie at the time of its original publication.

Tangent's premise is simple. A world (or in post-Crisis DC: 'Earth 9') whose only similarity to 'Earth-1' is the names of the heroes, while their identities, personalities, origins and powers have been completely re-imagined. Neat.

Coming in knowing next to nothing about this world, I didn't feel lost for a second, as Jurgens weaves exposition neatly inside the story, filling us in as we're moving on, and the 'History of the Tangent Universe' back-up in the end of the issue (by Marz and Pasarin) does the rest. It's certainly whetted my appetite to hunt down the older one-shots and get the full story on this exciting world.



(Christos Gage & Scott Beatty / Wes Craig)

The Wild Girls finish their Wild ride through the Wildstorm Universe. For a title dubbed 'Revelations' it ends up with more questions than when it started. The Girls have a big stabby party dressed as harem girls on Gamorra's island, they castrate a centaur, and discover a huge undergroun super-hero breeding lab. They lost my interest as soon as the fun in bronze bras stopped and the unavoidable segue into 'Number of the Beast' (Wildstorm's next big event) begun. Too X-Files for my liking. Wes Craig is too good for the current state Wildstorm is in, start your timers till mainstream DC or Marvel nabs him for their flagships.



(Sean McKeever / Eddy Barrows)

Sean McKeever continues (what he has labeled in interviews as) his real debut story arc. McKeever is one of the writers I count on to revolutionalise mainstream comics in the coming year, the enrmous expectations perhaps making his debut arc feel surprisingly... trite. This 'real debut' though lives up to his hype, as he rotates the focus to each individual Titan as they're hunted down one by one by the 'Terror Titans', a new opposing Titans team. Not very excited at the concept or membership of these guys; then again, we've fresh out of the Titans Army from the future storyline and the Titans East storyline right before that, so may be simply experience overburn. Very excited on the other hand with McKeever finally making himself at home (he bowed out of his stellar run on Birds of Prey to focus on this book), getting into the characters' heads, giving everyone a distinctive voice and setting up the inter-team relationships.
Kid Devil is strapped tight, Robin and Wonder Girl have a bitch fest, while Ravager defends the Titans Tower against B-list Reptile baddie and C-list baddette with an axe. Ravager's new power-set (basically Midnighter's powers) give the action sequence a great edge, especially the way 'predicting your opponent's next move' is clearly established in the art without the need for anyone to explain to the reader. Ravager started off as a two-dimensional cold-shrew character but is growing into a very fun sociopath to have around! Stellar.



(J. Torres / Joe Quinones & Todd Nauck)

Joe Quinones knocks my socks off with his art this issue, the colour, inks and designs all medling perfectly together for a very impressive textured effect on the cartoony template of the art. His story flashes back at an early adventure of Baby Beast Boy and his Doom Patrol family, when he accidentally swaps minds with his daddy Mento; Aptly titled 'Wacky Wednesday', it also features the entire Doom Patrol family and a giant one-eyed alien squid monster.Fun fun fun! Quinones deserves a spot in a flagship title, DC!

The second story features regular series artist Todd Nauck, back in his element drawing the teenage Titans, with Flash and Jinx taking down Jinx's ex Kid Kold and his new flame Ice Kate. The pun-ny names were all the fun for me here.



(Mike Costa / Fiona Staples)

What, another one. Fine, add Staples on the pile of hot artists inexplicably drawn to DC's doomed low-selling titles and Wildstorm. Why do they then still have Derenick and Freddie Williams working on their best-sellers if they have such a strong hidden artist dynamic? The mind baffles.

Anyhoo, Hawksmoor gets the Secret History treatm-- wait, oh no, he doesn't. Despite the title, this isn't a look at the King of Cities' origins (not yet in any case), but simply a solo series looking inside the most often over-looked Authority character. I always dug the character design and the potential of the powers, but they seldom get realised to ful potential. Not the case here, thankfully. Costa gives Hawksmoor a noir-ish narritive voice that's very distinctive and endlessly enjoyable to read, colouring it with ingenious tasty bites of what it must feel to be a man who can have conversations with the city he lives in.

I don't know what's changed in Wildstorm editorial, but things are definitely looking up!



(B. Clay Moore / Ramon Perez)

'Forward Through The Past part 2.

What's up with hot new talented artists cropping up out of nowhere this week? Add Ramon Perez to the pile, as he wows the crowds with the help of his sparring partner, colourist Dave McCaig, providing an exciting pallette and snazzy colour effects and page scratch marks to separate the current storlyine from the flashbacks. The issue was enjoyable as a quick read, with Ted and Selina working beauifully together (wouldn't mind seeing them together again in her solo title, Bru worked wonders on their dynamic), and making sweet violence on the page! Plus, if you're a big fan of heroes crawling through air-ducts, bikes crashing through crates holding unidentified products or super-powered fiddlers, you're in for a special treat!


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